Ding Junhui battled back to defeat Li Hang 5-3 and book his place in tomorrow’s semi-finals at the Yushan World Open.
Ding is competing in his second event of the campaign, having suffered a shock 5-0 defeat to 1994 Masters winner Alan McManus in his last 32 tie at the China Championship. He ended last season with an all-time classic Crucible semi-final against Mark Selby, losing out 17-15.
Li has enjoyed a tremendous start to the season. He reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time at the China Championship and today’s match was only his second appearance in a quarter-final.
Li had only ever faced his illustrious opponent twice in ranking events coming into today, but lost on both occasions. He had looked on course to register his first victory over Ding when he stormed to a 3-1 advantage at the interval. The 26-year-old compiled runs of 63 and 65 prior to the break.
When they returned, the 12-time ranking event winner turned the tie on it’s head. He constructed breaks of 110, 72 and 108 to move one from victory at 4-3, before getting himself over the line to secure the win.
Ding said: “I didn’t play well during the first half of the match and Li’s strategy worked well. He didn’t play any risky shots and waited for his chances. After the interval I made two centuries and started to cue well.
“I think Li is a different player now than a few years ago. He got some great results at the China Championship in Guangzhou and here. I have to say I was a bit lucky to beat him today.”
Luca Brecel will face Ding in the last four after holding off an Anthony McGill fightback to edge out a 5-4 win.
The Belgian lifted ranking silverware for the first time at the China Championship and will be hoping to add a second title to his CV this weekend.
Both players made breaks of 61 to split the opening two frames this evening, before Brecel hit the front with a century run of 117. He won the next two frames to open up a 4-1 advantage. McGill hit back and the match was in the balance at 4-3. There was an engrossing safety battle on the final red which McGill won to force a decider. Both players had chances, but it was Brecel who took his with a contribution of 60 to get over the line.
You can watch tomorrow’s semi finals on Eurosport 1 from 7am in the UK.
Mark Allen vs Kyren Wilson
Ding Junhui vs Luca Brecel